September 4, 2013
Jason Sudoriak

Ex-Marine Keeps Veterans Issues at Forefront on Campus

As a Marine, Jason Sydoriak served two deployments in Iraq and one in Afghanistan, where he was wounded when an improvised explosive device struck the vehicle in which he was riding. The explosion shattered his left heel bone. His ankle now is fused.

As a student at Front Range, Jason still has a call to service. He is president of the Student Veterans Club.

A Rising Star.

Jason is the campus Rising Star, honored at a statewide recognition ceremony. “I’m honored to get the award,” he says. “People are noticing the strides I’m making.”

The Rising Star award is given through the State Student Advisory Council. Each year, FRCC recognizes the outstanding contributions of students on its campuses and sends its Rising Stars to a Colorado Community College System awards luncheon. Jason is the Rising Star for the Larimer Campus, recognized for his academic achievements and high level of leadership and involvement in student activities.

College is a Culture Shock for Veterans.

“When veterans come back to school, there is a culture shock,” he says. “They don’t fit in. They can feel stigmatized. They are proud of their service, but they don’t want to be labeled by it.”

When Jason came to Front Range, he revived the Student Veterans Club.

“I want to create community support for veterans to fall back on,” he says. “I want to connect them to community resources for post-traumatic stress syndrome and traumatic brain injury.”

Veterans Club Growing.

As president of the Student Veterans Club, Jason has increased the club’s membership, increased awareness across campus about veterans’ issues, and found ways to help veterans integrate socially into the campus culture.

Jason joined the Marines right out of high school in East Hartford, Conn. He was deployed to Ramadi and Habbaniyah, both in the Al Anbar province west of Baghdad in Iraq, and Helmand Province in Afghanistan. He served six years in the Marines, leaving service with a Purple Heart and three certificates of commendation.

Jason chose the Larimer Campus Front Range in Fort Collins because his wife, Stacia, chose to enroll in the Ph.D. program for sociology at Colorado State University, also in Fort Collins.

He is studying political science and economics at Front Range and will transfer to CSU in the fall intending to study business. He’s already president of the CSU student veterans group.

Supportive faculty.

In the meantime, he’s grateful for the support he’s received from Front Range faculty. Jeff Borg, who teaches political science “is great, awesome. What’s most remarkable is how impartial he is in class discussions. I know how passionate he is about issues outside of class.” And Shawna Van, English, “really motivated me.”

The future.

Jason wants to be involved in public policy. And maybe someday he may be making strides in politics. As a fellow student remarked at a student awards ceremony, “Someday I’ll vote for Jason for senator.”

About the author:

John Feeley is director of public relations at Front Range Community College. He’s a retired soccer referee and newspaper editor whose subscription ran out.